For eight consecutive weekends, I signed up to be out hawking my books at Holiday Bazaars. And for seven of them, I did just that. (It’s not my fault the weather didn’t cooperate weekend before last and I was unable to attend one of them due to ice and snow.)
Sitting in my bazaar booth day after day, is not an easy task, but it’s evident that I am gaining a readership as an established author and have been gratified by many repeat customers. What a thrill it is for someone to tell me they couldn’t sleep because they were laughing at something I’d written!
But is it really worth it to sit there and smile all those days and hours during the two-month holiday season? Is it worth it to drive so many miles, haul in my totes of books, set up my displays, assemble my poster easels and my JanBonoBooks banner stand, and pitch my writing to hordes of reluctant readers?
The answer is both yes and no.
I cast a wide net, and ended up attending holiday bazaars in five different counties: One each in Pacific, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor and Tillamook. Three were in Clatsop County, but in three vastly different towns, and venues.
My “initial outlay,” not including the actual cost of the books, came to $1175 this year. That’s quite a chunk of change. It accounts for the bazaar “booth and/or table rents,” the mileage, and the motels. It doesn’t count the meals “on the road,” or the gifts I purchase from other vendors. Those expenses would happen anyway. A gal still has to eat, regardless of the venue, and gifts are, well, gifts!
In the end, I grossed not quite twice the outlay, which is absolutely fabulous—until you factor in my time, not just sitting there, but preparations, travel, set-up/take down time, etc. So my “pay” was less than abysmal. Less than one-quarter of minimum wage!
So was it really worth it?
According to my bazaar stat sheet, I put 205 books into the hands of potential readers. And for an author, that little fact always makes it worth our time. Always.